Hayase Kouichi is a high school boy who gets bullied a lot, and despite his childhood friend Risako trying to stand up for him, he does what the bullies tell him to. He doesn’t mind because he thinks that eventually the bullies will follow him since he represents justice. In fact, he believes that he has a dormant power within himself, and even when his other friend Yajima offers help, Kouichi claims that he’ll be okay by himself. The bullies want Kouichi to go buy some bread for them at a bakery far from school, and on his way back, he’s thrown off his bike after it hits a bump in the ground. At that moment though, a giant mecha falls out of the sky right on top of him. When Kouichi regains consciousness, he finds himself in some rubble with a naked girl laying beside him. What’s more, there’s now a giant mecha sitting in front of him. Figuring that the situation is dangerous, Kouichi gives the girl his shirt and carries her off. She wakes up a short while later and thanks him for saving her, but she claims that she doesn’t remember who she is. Since she needs some clothes, Kouichi takes her home so that she can borrow some of his sister’s.
While they are there, they notice an explosion in the distance. A group of ARMA mecha have appeared in the middle of the city and have started wreaking havoc, and the girl immediately realizes that these are her enemies. She rushes out of the house towards the commotion, and she watches as the ARMAs take out another group of mecha that had just arrived on the scene. Although Kouichi wants to run away, the girl feels that they have to do something, but before they take any action, they’re found by Yajima. He tries to lead them to the school, however one of the mecha fighting the ARMAs gets tossed in their direction, and it breaks a wall near them. Yajima protects Kouichi and the girl by holding up a piece of the collapsed wall, but this frustrates Kouichi because he’s always being taken care of by his friends. Kouichi ends up punching the wall, and to his surprise, he shatters it. At this very moment, the girl remembers that her name is Kizaki Emi, and she subsequently asks Kouichi if he’ll fight together with her. She places his hand on her breast and tells him to summon the LINEBARREL if he has the will to fight, and this causes a reaction that results in it suddenly appearing.
Full of confidence now, Kouichi takes Emi and leaps up into the LINEBARREL’s cockpit. He’s able to control it, and with some help from the LINEBARREL’s self-repairing abilities, he is able to easily handle two of the ARMAs. When he faces off against the third and final one, he declares that he’ll defeat it because it’s evil and he’s an ally of justice. The clash of the two titans results in the ARMA getting sliced up, and the shadowy man calling the shots orders the ARMA’s pilot to retreat. In the aftermath, Kouichi laughs with glee because he’s finally obtained power, and he truly believes that he’s on the side of justice. However, Emi then surprises him by revealing that he’s already dead.
I was all prepared to hear a ALI PROJECT song (as some of you might know, I dislike their music), but there was no OP this week, and I was instead treated to a very good Sakamoto Maaya ED. Such a good song feels almost wasted on a series like this.
I think this might be the first time I’ve ever hated a main character after just five minutes of the first episode. It’s bad enough that Kouichi starts out as a weak, angsty male lead, but then he changed into an arrogant, self-righteous lead, and the combination of those two makes him completely unbearable. To make matters worse, since Kouichi is voiced by Kakihara Tetsuya, I immediately had flashbacks of Kazuki from Dragonaut. I can’t help but think that Kouichi will end up as a joke of a character like Kazuki was (I already laughed out loud during the ridiculous scene when Kouichi summoned the LINEBARREL by touching Emi’s breast). Fortunately, at least Noto Mamiko was decent as Emi, and after Geass, it was interesting seeing Fukuyama Jun voice a villain.
Gonzo did a decent job with the production quality, and I didn’t have any big complaints there. The CG was okay; not nearly as good as Macross’s, but serviceable. I’m also not quite used to how Gonzo animates Hisashi Hirai‘s character designs – the way the faces were drawn was weird – but that may be because I haven’t watched anything that he’s worked on since SEED Destiny. In any case, I think there’s some potential in the series overall, but at least for this first episode, I had a hard time taking it seriously. The only interesting thing plotwise was the revelation at the end that Kouichi is already dead, but I fear that that’ll just lead to more angst on Kouichi’s part. I may watch another episode of this to see if it gets any better, but I’m not keeping my hopes up.
Oh yea, I almost forgot to mention. This series is going the same official subs on streaming video route that several recent Gonzo series have. You can find the crunchyroll stream here.